Monday, November 20, 2017

Caregiving article in the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal published an article by Maddy Dychtwald, The Surprising Benefits and Costs of Family Caregiving.  A significant number of folks are already serving as caregivers (40 million per the article) and "[a]s the massive baby-boomer generation hits their 70s, the demand for family caregiving will skyrocket—and it’s poised to become America’s biggest off-the-books industry." The author explains about a survey her company did with Merrill Lynch,  "The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity."  The author notes one unexpected positive found in the study is the caregivers finding the act of caregiving benefitting them, perhaps as much as those receiving the care.

The majority of respondents (65%) also said that caregiving has brought meaning and purpose to their life. Most (77%) went so far as to say they would gladly take on the role of caregiver for another loved one. More than half (61%) told us the biggest benefit of being a caregiver is feeling that they’re doing the right thing. And often, caregivers begin to take better care of their own health as a result of their caregiving experience (86%).

The article discusses the obstacles encountered in caregiving, including the role reversals that can make the relationship difficult. "Nearly half (45%) of all caregivers say they are struggling with this, while trying to meet what they tell us are their top three goals: preserving the dignity of their loved one, providing the best care possible, and keeping their loved one out of an institution. Many caregivers also believe part of their role is to make sure the recipient does not feel like a burden, even when they might be."

The article stresses the importance of a family conversation--and early. The talk needs to include financial caregiving, which may end up being a big part of the need.

As it turns out, financial caregiving is a critical part of the picture—but one that’s not often discussed. Financial caregivers in our study are contributing to the cost of care, coordinating and managing finances for their loved one, or both. More than half (52%) of respondents have no idea what they have spent on caregiving-related expenses. In fact, many contribute financially to the care of their loved one even when it’s detrimental to their own financial future.

The cost of caregiving is not easy or comfortable to talk about, but finances are an integral piece of the puzzle. Seventy-five percent of family caregivers have never discussed their financial role with their care recipient. It could be that talking about money is taboo, especially in the face of grave illness, or that the care recipient does not have the mental acuity to discuss finances. But the financial burden and emotional toll can be minimized if families talk it through and plan appropriately.

It’s important to get our heads around the costs and benefits of caregiving now, because it’s likely to be in each of our futures. As founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter once said: “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who currently are caregivers; those who will be caregivers; and those who will need caregivers.”

November 20, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (1)

University of Missouri Law Professor David English Presents Guardianship Reforms to New Mexico

University of Missouri Law Professor David English, who is part of a team working on new Guardianship Law proposals for the Uniform Law Commission, was reportedly in Albuquerque New Mexico recently.  His appearance is in response to one of the latest regional scandals in the U.S. about the use of so-called "professional" guardians.  See here and here for more on the recent history in New Mexico, including the summer 2017 federal indictment of key individuals .

According to news reports, part of Professor English's concern is about the dangers that can attend unnecessary secrecy about proceedings: 

“What struck me when I first looked at New Mexico, I was very surprised as a general matter that guardianship proceedings were not open to the public. That’s not consistent with how most other states address the issue,” he told the guardianship commission on Friday.

 

In New Mexico, guardianship proceedings are sequestered and closed to the public. The only publicly available record is a court docket sheet identifying the parties involved and a general list of the actions and filings in the case. But, in Missouri, where English lives, the public can attend hearings in which judges decide whether a guardian should be appointed for an incapacitated person. Typically, those placed under guardianship or conservatorships are elderly, those with dementia or Alzheimer’s or others who need help with their decision-making or finances.

 

He said the intent of the new reform laws would be to open guardianship proceedings to the public, unless the person for whom the guardianship is being considered asks for a closed hearing or a judge decides otherwise. “It’s very important that the public have some access to what’s going on in guardianship cases,” English told the guardianship commission. “At least be able to attend the hearing.”

For more on the hearings and possible changes in New Mexico laws and procedures, see New Reforms in Guardian Law Presented by the Albuquerque Journal's investigative reporter, Colleen Heid.  

November 20, 2017 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Philly Area Nursing Home Fire's First Lessons

As I wrote last week, the dramatic five-alarm fire at a senior nursing care unit near Philadelphia (actually, in West Chester) was something we might want to keep an eye on, to see if lessons emerge about emergency response.  The good news is that the community around the nursing home wing (which appears to be part of a CCRC rather than a stand-alone nursing home)  has been warm, loving and helpful to the residents.  Today's Sunday morning news showed donations of clothing and key supplies arriving at the door step of a local fire department, along with practical expertise:

 

Tom Short, a statistics professor at West Chester University, said he and his wife, Darlene, had just moved to the area from Cleveland. He saw the ambulances taking the seniors to the university during the fire and knew he wanted to help. The couple had already had experience helping seniors.

 

So they arrived at the firehouse early Sunday to help with crush of donations.  “I knew how to organize,” Short said.

 

“We just want to help out,” his wife said. “We printed out a list of things that were needed.”

So, the first lesson is positive -- the importance of community -- and folks with organizational skills stepping forward to volunteer.

But, there also seems to be a question about whether all of the residents of the care facilities have been accounted for.  

See:  Barclay Friends Nursing Home Fire: What We Know and Don't Know [as of late Saturday]. 

Some  of the residents are being cared for in family members' homes; others at hospitals or other care facilities, but it seems that one lesson could be that a system of accountability for individuals who could be uniquely at risk in a fire or similar disaster should be part of an emergency plan, regardless of the age of the affected individuals.   More details on the cause of fire and a casualty report are expected on Monday.  

November 19, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Lessons to Emerge from Philadelphia-Area Nursing Home Fire?

In Pennsylvania, we awoke today to news media images of flames shooting into the night sky from a nursing home near Philadelphia.  I suspect many of us feared the worst outcome, including serious injuries to helpless residents, or worse.  In the region, wooden structures, narrow streets, and densely populated neighborhoods are the norm.    

But, although we are still in the early aftermath of the fire which reportedly ignited around 10:30 at night in a dementia care unit, evacuations occurred swiftly and with the help of the entire community, including college students who joined in the effort.  As my blogging colleague has pointed out recently in the context of hurricanes, often the real impact for seniors displaced by emergencies occurs in the days or even weeks after the event.  Let's hope we hear positive news about "best practices" in this instance.  Lesson number one may involve whether sprinklers in the building operated appropriately.

From one early news account: 

https://youtu.be/8UhX3Bo93Og

 

 

November 17, 2017 in Consumer Information, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Property Management, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nursing Homes & Emergency Generators-Round One Goes to the SNFs

Recall that I had previously blogged about the impact of Irma on some nursing homes and how the Florida Governor had issued an emergency administrative rule requiring nursing homes to have emergency generators. The suit brought by facilities challenging the rule wasn't a particular surprise. The judge assigned the case ruled in late October in favor of the facilities. As reported in an article in the Wall Street Journal, the judge  "ruled against state efforts to force elder-care facilities to rapidly upgrade their generators by mid-November, siding with industry groups that argued the state’s time demands were unrealistic."  Florida Judge Rules Against Emergency Nursing-Home Generator Measures notes that in the lengthy opinion, the ALJ  explains “it is impossible for the vast majority of nursing homes” and assisted-living facilities to comply with the orders by the deadline."  The Governor's office indicated that it would appeal while also working with the Florida legislature regarding bills filed on this issue.  The article notes some facilities are already in compliance and that the objection was more about the timeline than the requirement.  Stay tuned....

 

 

November 17, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Evictions" of Nursing Home Residents Trigger Lawsuits

The issue of "evictions" in residential facilities for older adults has long been on my radar screen, and I was especially interested to hear (and read) news of a lawsuit initiated by the AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) against a California skilled nursing facility and its parent entity following the facility's refusal to "readmit" an 82 year-old resident following her temporary hospital stay.  As reported by NPR for All Things Considered on November 13, 2017: 

[The Defendants] say that she became aggressive with staff and threw some plastic tableware. So Pioneer House called an ambulance and sent her to a hospital for a psychological evaluation. The hospital found nothing wrong with her, but the nursing home wouldn't take her back. They said they couldn't care for someone with her needs.  Jones protested his mother's eviction to the California Department of Health Care Services. The department held a hearing. Jones won.

 

"I expected action — definitely expected action," says Jones.  Instead, he got an email explaining that the department that holds the hearings has no authority to enforce its own rulings. Enforcement is handled by a different state agency. He could start over with them.

 

This Catch-22 situation attracted the interest of the legal wing of the AARP Foundation. Last year, attorneys there asked the federal government to open a civil rights investigation into the way California deals with nursing home evictions. Now, they're suing Pioneer House and its parent company on Gloria Single's behalf. It's the first time the AARP has taken a legal case dealing with nursing home eviction.

For more, read AARP Foundation Sues Nursing Home to Stop Illegal Evictions.  

My thanks to my always alert colleague, Dickinson Law Professor Laurel Terry, for sharing this item.  

November 17, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pennsylvania's Secretary of Aging Talks about Demographic-Driven Challenges in Aging

Pennsylvania's Secretary of Aging, Teresa Osborne  was interviewed on Smart Talk, a Public Radio program in central Pennsylvania on November 16, 2017.  Secretary Osborne is well-spoken, and using the fact that Pennsylvania has one of the fastest growing "older old" populations in the country (usually defined as age 85+), she reports on some of the ways that Pennsylvania is attempting to assist healthy aging, including making available resources better available to age-in-place at home through a program called Community Choice.  One of her observations?  While everyone "hopes" to stay in one's own home, "'hope' is not a plan."  Active steps to make that happen safely are needed -- and one of the boomers interviewed  talked about his own periodic, "five year review" plan.   You can listen to a podcast of the approximately 30 minute interview here.  

The radio interview also introduced a segment from a public television Health Smart series on The Aging Boom-The 2030 Problem, scheduled to be aired for the first time on WITF-TV on November 16 at 8 p.m. (with additional broadcasts planned for various times of day on November 17 and 18). 

November 16, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Do We Mean by "Ageism," And Are The Worst Offenders Our (Aging) Selves?

Recently I had a good chat with a former student, who has already retired from practicing law.  I was surprised as I had assumed he was younger than I am. Why?  Because I was the teacher, right?  But, as it turned out, he was about 10 years older than I was when he was my student, and, of course, that margin remains.  I was guilty of a form of reverse-ageism.  

I have another friend who teaches non-law courses on aging-related topics for Oregon State University.  She uses cartoons effectively in the course -- handing out provocative cartoons without any captions that include some imagery associated with aging and inviting the students to provide their own captions.  Pretty quickly the students get to see the difference between humor that both old and young could chuckle about -- and ageist humor.  She also admits to her students that her courses get more relevant with every year -- to her, of course -- as she and her friends are rapidly reaching silver or gold status as "older" adults.

Along that line, The New Yorker magazine has a current piece addressing ageism that is both thoughtful and eclectic.  Amusingly, it begins with scenes from a classic movie, where a young Paul Newman is toiling away in a Philadelphia law firm, resenting his elders.  Of course, for readers of a certain age, they might find it impossible to imagine a "young" Newman as all they know is his gray haired image (or, perhaps, his salad dressing bottles).

The author suggests that perhaps our biggest problem with ageism starts with ourselves -- our own unwillingness to confront the realities of our own aging. He uses an example from retirement communities, where residents sometimes attempt to ban walkers and wheelchairs from the dining areas. Ironic, yes? 

Lots of good food for discussion in Why Ageism Never Gets Old, written by Tad Friend, for the November 20 issue of The New Yorker.  

Our thanks to Dick Kaplan at University of Illinois Law for sending the link our way.  

November 16, 2017 in Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Palliative Care and Serious Illnesses

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a new report Models and Strategies to Integrate Palliative Care Principles into Care for People with Serious Illness: Proceedings of a Workshop The website explains the purpose of the workshop

The Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness hosted a full-day workshop on April 27, 2017 to explore Models and Strategies to Integrate Palliative Care Principles into Care for People with Serious Illness. The workshop aimed to highlight innovative models of community-based care for people of all ages facing serious illness. The workshop featured invited presentations and panel discussions exploring community-based palliative care from a population health management perspective as well as a health system perspective; pediatric palliative care, concurrent care, and palliative care within the context of a multispecialty accountable care organization; potential policy levers, as well as the challenges and opportunities to scale and spread successful palliative care models and programs. The workshop rapporteurs have prepared this proceedings as a factual summation of the workshop presentations and discussions.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction

Remarkable developments in health promotion and disease treatment and prevention have led to significant improvements in life expectancy throughout the 20th century and into the present. Concurrent with those improvements has been the reality that most Americans will experience a substantial period of time living with serious illness; an estimated 45 million Americans currently are living with one or more chronic conditions (IOM, 2015; NASEM, 2016). Those living with serious illness can be found across the age spectrum and in a broad range of care settings, from pre-birth to geriatric care. Recognizing the need to thoughtfully consider and address the challenges and opportunities to improve care for people of all ages and all stages of a serious illness, the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness serves to convene stakeholders from government, academia, industry, professional associations, nonprofit advocacy organizations, and philanthropies. Inspired by and expanding on the work of the 2014 Institute of Medicine consensus study report Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life (IOM, 2015),2 the Roundtable aims to foster ongoing dialogue about critical policy and research issues to accelerate and sustain progress in care for people of all ages experiencing serious illness.

The publication can be read online here or downloaded for free as a pdf.  It can also be purchased as a paperback for $45. 

 

 

 

November 15, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Programs/CLEs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shortages of Specialists to Screen and Diagnose Early Stages of Neurocognitive Diseases Are Part of the Looming Problem

A recent study by the Rand Corporation points to related problems with diagnosis AND  treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and other neurocognitive disorders. Even as there is a growing need for effective treatment, there are "too few medical specialists to diagnose patients who may have early signs of Alzheimer's" and thus become eligible for therapies that might slow or or halt progression of such diseases.   From the Rand news release:  

“While significant effort is being put into developing treatments to slow or block the progression of Alzheimer's dementia, little work has been done to get the medical system ready for such an advancement,” said Jodi Liu, lead author of the study and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “While there is no certainty an Alzheimer's therapy will be approved soon, our work suggests that health care leaders should begin thinking about how to respond to such a breakthrough.”

 

An estimated 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's dementia today, with the number projected to increase to 11.6 million by 2040.

 

Advanced clinical trials are underway for at least 10 investigational therapies that have shown promise in slowing or blocking development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers say the progress provides guarded optimism that a disease-modifying therapy could become available for routine use within a few years.

 

Liu and her team examined the pathway patients would likely take to receive an Alzheimer's therapy and created a model to simulate the pressures that such an approved therapy would put on the health care system.

 

The analysis assumes that a therapy is approved for use beginning in 2020 and screening would begin in 2019, although researchers stress that the date was chosen only as a scenario for the model, not as a prediction of when a therapy may be approved.

 

Under such a scenario, about 71 million Americans aged 55 and older would have to be screened for signs of mild cognitive impairment. After follow-up examinations and imaging to confirm evidence of Alzheimer's, the RAND analysis estimates 2.4 million people ultimately could be recommended for treatment.

For additional analysis, see The Washington Post's article from its Business Section, We're So Unprepared for Finding An Alzheimer's Treatment. 

Special thanks to George Washington Law Professor (and friend) Naomi Cahn for making sure we did not miss this item.  

November 15, 2017 in Cognitive Impairment, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Retirement Dress Rehearsal

Kiplinger ran a story promoting the idea of practicing for retirement. 4 Reasons to Hold a Retirement Dress Rehearsal suggests you take a trial run at retirement before making it permanent. For example, thinking about moving to a warmer climate, buying a condo on a golf course, moving into a senior housing complex, or something else, the article suggests trying out the plan temporarily. The advantages of doing so allow you to get a better idea of the expenses of living this new life, whether you physically can manage this new life, discover if more hours for hobbies translate into more (or less) fun,  and learn whether you want to be closer or farther away from your family. The article offers this list of things to check out when thinking about moving:

  • Expenses
  • Availability of health care
  • Climate
  • Recreational opportunities
  • Access to transportation (area airports, major highways, etc.)
  • Community and potential friendships
  • Ease of visiting family (or visa versa)

 

November 14, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Veterans Victims of Financial Elder Abuse

Boots on the Ground - Fighting Financial Abuse of Elder Veterans explains the Veterans Benefits Protection Project. "One form of financial abuse targets elder veterans and their families, promising to assist them with qualifying for veterans benefits through the sale of unsuitable financial products and irrevocable living trusts. These scams threaten the health, safety, and financial well-being of thousands of elder veterans across the country."  The project started "outreach and website last Veterans Day to share reliable resources for veterans and professionals working with veterans. Since then, the IOA has conducted 14 trainings to over 725 individuals, notified and trained administrators at all licensed residential care facilities and senior centers in San Francisco about the scam, and received an Aging Innovation Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging."

Here's an explanation about the scam

Financial predators have been making large commissions by selling medium-and-high wealth seniors unnecessary or unsuitable financial products or services. They tell the seniors that in order to get the benefit, they need to “appear impoverished,” and they can accomplish that by converting their assets into their “veteran-friendly estate plan.” Seniors who follow their advice end up with irrevocable trusts or financial products that tie up their money so they cannot access it for the rest of their lives, while the predators walk away with large commissions or service fees for their “help.”

This multi-agency project offers resources and materials for veterans and families and professionals working with veterans.

November 13, 2017 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Veterans | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers-Western Sydney University Elder Law Review

Here's the info from my dear friend, Sue Field, co-editor.

Elder Law Review The Elder Law Review is an independent refereed e-journal produced by Elder Law at Western Sydney University. It is the only Australian Journal concerned with Elder Law. The Review publishes articles about legal issues relating to seniors in all areas of law, including wills, powers of attorney, substitute decision-making, guardianship, discrimination, accommodation, contracts, financial management, retirement income, taxation and property. The Review is multi-disciplinary, bringing together professionals working, researching and writing in the aged care area. It is designed to be of interest to academics, practitioners and those involved in the provision of aged care.

The Elder Law Review can be accessed at

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/ElderLawRw/recent.html

https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/elr/elder_law/elder_law_review_elr

Call for submissions for Volume 11 (due for publication early 2018).

Notes to contributors The theme of the forthcoming issue will be “Legal and Financial Issues surrounding Retirement Villages” Original, unpublished contributions are invited for any of the following sections of the Review:

  • the Refereed section containing scholarly articles about the legal/social/economic/policy issues associated with “International Perspectives on Elder Law”. While we will consider articles of any length, we prefer them to be between 3000 and 8000 words.
  • the Comments section, which consists of contributions from government, lawyers and aged care representatives, commenting on issues which the contributor perceives to be of contemporary significance within elder law.
  • News and Current Issues – including legislative changes and case notes.
  • Elder Law in Practice which profiles legal practices, community projects, social justice initiatives and pro-bono schemes from all over the world that specifically target the legal needs of older people.

Papers must conform to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation which can be accessed at

http://law.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1586203/FinalOnlinePDF-2012Reprint.pdf

In particular, contributors should note the conventions regarding footnotes and bibliographies. Submissions must be received by January 15th, 2018  and should be addressed to Sue Field S.Field@westernsydney.edu.au

For further information please contact Sue Field co-editor S.Field@westernsydney.edu.au Contributors are reminded that papers should be written in clear language accessible to specialists and non-specialists alike and that submission of articles is no guarantee of publication, as the Elder Law Review is a peer reviewed journal and ERA ranked.

 

 

November 13, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Housing, International, Other | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Younger Retirees or Soon to Retire--Cost of Health Insurance

Kaiser Health News wrote about those in their 50s and early 60s who face retirement but are not yet eligible for Medicare. Rising Health Insurance Costs Frighten Some Early Retirees focuses on the ACA's exchanges which are expected to increase costs a lot at least partially due to the "administration’s decision to stop payments to insurers to cover the discounts they are required to give to some low-income customers to cover out-of-pocket costs." The article also mentions the constant focus on repeal and replace by Congress that creates a lot of uncertainty. It's not just about costs, but the variations amongst the states can also create unease. The increased costs may lead some to forego health insurance completely, especially, it is speculated, by those who get no subsidies.

There are already signs of that, according to an analysis for this article by the Commonwealth Fund. The percentage of 50- to 64-year-olds who were uninsured ticked up from 8 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in the first half of 2017. In 2013, the figure was 14 percent.

Indeed, the ACA has been a boon to people in this age group whether they get a subsidy or not. It barred insurers from excluding people with preexisting conditions — which occur more commonly in older people. And the law restricted insurers from charging 55- to 64-year-olds more than three times that of younger people, instead of five times more, as was common.

The law also provided much better access to health insurance for early retirees and the self-employed — reducing so-called “job lock” and offering coverage amid a precipitous decline in employer-sponsored retiree coverage that began in the late 1990s.

Stay tuned.

November 12, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Medicare | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Advance Directives and Spoon Feeding

Recently there was some coverage about a woman who was being spoon-fed by employees of the facility despite the existence of her advance directive.  Kaiser Health News covers the issue in New ‘Instructions’ Could Let Dementia Patients Refuse Spoon-Feeding  explains that a group in Washington State has issued “Instructions for Oral Feeding and Drinking”

As well there's a second document that explains the pros and cons of doing so.  There are limits, according to the KHN article.

The guidelines do not apply to people with dementia who still get hungry and thirsty and want to eat and drink, the authors note. ... “If I accept food and drink (comfort feeding) when they’re offered to me, I want them,” the document states. ... But if the person appears indifferent to eating, or shows other signs of not wanting food — turning away, not willingly opening their mouth, spitting food out, coughing or choking — the document says attempts to feed should be stopped. ... And the guidelines tell caregivers to respect those actions.

As well, the KHN article notes, these are guidelines and are not required to be followed.

November 10, 2017 in Advance Directives/End-of-Life, Cognitive Impairment, Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mom Does Have a Favorite!

I grew up watching the Smothers Brothers and vividly recall their sibling rivalry...."mom always liked you best."  For elder law attorneys, the idea of the parent having a favorite child can be an important bit of information in the representation of the client. I've written about family matters beyond this blog.  I was interested in the recent article in Huffington Post covering family favoritism. Parents Really Do Have Favorite Child, No Matter What They Say. Finally, ANSWERS. opens with an amusing observation that if your parents have told you all along they don't have favorites, they weren't being truthful to you. "[S]cience tells a different story. In research that will vindicate self-pitying siblings everywhere, sociologist Katherine Conger’s recently resurfaced longitudinal study found what many have suspected all along: Parents totally have a favorite child."  The article discusses the study's hypothesis regarding birth order and who would feel favored. "The research also found that no matter a child’s birth order, every single one was suspicious of their parents liking another better. “Everyone feels their brother or sister is getting a better deal,” Conger said... So what do we make of all of this? For one, siblings have it tough. Always competing for their parents’ love, never knowing who’s ahead. But the good news for brothers and sisters is that the relationship serves tons of benefits: Having a sibling may make you more intelligent, more likely to have a stable marriage as an adult and can serve as a built-in support system. " The study referenced in the article is available for purchase.   

November 9, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Check Out This New Report: New Guide on HCBS Settings Rule

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care has issued a new guide, Understanding and Advocating for Effective Implementation of the Home and Community-Based Services Settings Rule.

Here's the introduction to the guide:

An important part of the practice of many elder law attorneys is assisting clients to receive and then benefit from Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). In March 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the first ever regulations establishing standards for the settings in which HCBS are provided.1 These regulations will impact the services, quality of life, and rights of HCBS care recipients, as well as the environment in which they receive those services. Each state must develop and implement a plan for how it will come into compliance with the HCBS rules. The involvement of advocates, including elder law attorneys, in influencing the plan and monitoring its implementation is critical. This guide is designed to provide elder law attorneys with a better understanding of the HCBS settings rule and how they can advocate for a strong, effective system that achieves the spirit and intent of the rule.

The report notes that the reason for "HCBS Medicaid services is to be an alternative to institutional settings."  Thus, the rule's main reason "is to define the qualities that make a setting a home that is truly part of a larger community." Additionally, the rule is designed to confirm that those recipients really are part of their community. Last, but not least, the rule is intended to make the lives of these folks better as well as getting them more choice and protections. The report can be downloaded here.

 

 

 

November 7, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Discrimination, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Medicaid | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boomer Trends and the Coming Caregiving Crunch

The Future of Caregiving: The Coming Caregiving Crunch  is a report released in October 2917 by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave that  provides interesting data points to identify challenges and action items tied to aging in the U.S.  The information in the report was generated by surveys of more than 2,200 individuals, including "nonprofessional" caregivers.  

While perhaps it is tempting to assume we are already feeling the effects of retirement for the Boomer generation, this report reminds us that we still haven't had the "first" boomer hit 80 years of age, which is when the likelihood of needing care or assistance increases.

The report suggests that "denial" is a huge problem.  While 7 in 10 Americans turning 65 today will need "care for prolonged periods" in their later years, only 4 in 10 Americans believe they personally are likely to "ever" need such care.  Certainly Merrill Lynch has a goal to increase consumer awareness of a need for realistic financial planning, some of the most interesting parts of the report addressed not just the need for adequate savings, but the likelihood that families could benefit from "financial coordinators."  The report used this term for people with the skills to handle (or monitor/oversee) such tasks as:

  • paying bills from proper accounts
  • monitoring bank accounts and access to accounts
  • handling insurance claims
  • filing taxes
  • managing invested assets 

The writers observe:  

Financial caregiving is nearly uncharted territory, with little research identifying the flow and pace of transactions that individuals and their families experience as they navigate the caregiving journey. Similarly, little has been studied about the ways in which caregivers and care recipients need help financially. As Boomers age, the need for assistance in tracking, managing and paying for care-related expenses in complex relationships is destined to grow.

The writers warn that family members are frequently unprepared for the responsibilities that caring for an elder may involve, especially given the fact that Boomers are much more unlikely than previous generations to living near their own children.  

November 7, 2017 in Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 6, 2017

What Makes Life Spectacular?

PBS NewsHour has been running a series of interviews, Brief but Spectacular, where the subject opines on the question: what vital things make life spectacular. They recently aired their 100th episode, which featured a person who is 92 years old and who has begun to have memory problems.  You can read the transcript here  or listen to the audio of the interview here.  Another interviewee, a 91 year old author, opines on aging with grace.  That transcript can be accessed here. You can access the full series here.

November 6, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Film, Other, Television, Web/Tech | Permalink

Unpartnered Americans-New Report from Pew

Pew Research Center issued a new FactTank report, The share of Americans living without a partner has increased, especially among young adults.  The article starts off with these statistics "[i]n the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has climbed to 42%, up from 39% in 2007, when the Census Bureau began collecting detailed data on cohabitation."  So you are wondering, what does this report have to do with elder law? Well, here you go. "The rise in adults living without a spouse or partner has also occurred against the backdrop of a third important demographic shift: the aging of American adults. Older adults (55 and older) are more likely to have a spouse or partner than younger adults. So it is surprising that the share of adults who are unpartnered has risen even though relatively more Americans are older." The article explains the financial implications of being "unpartnered", not unsurprising to those of us in the field of elder law. This can be an important implication in terms of retirement security as well. The infographic breaking down the data by age is available here.

 

November 6, 2017 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)